Eyewitness Account of Paul Angelides

Paul J. Angelides

July 12, 1998

Re: Flight 800

After work on July 17, 1996, I went to our ocean front summer rental house to have dinner with my wife and 1 year old son. After dinner my wife was bathing our son before putting him to bed so I decided to go to the ocean side deck to enjoy the view. As I walked through the sliding doors to the deck a red phosphorescent object in the sky caught my attention. The object was quite high in the sky (about 50-60 degrees) and was slightly to the west and off shore of my position. At first it appeared to be moving slowly, almost hanging and descending, and was leaving a white smoke trail. The smoke trail was short and the top of the smoke trail has a clockwise, parabolic shaped hook towards the shore. My first reaction was that I was looking at a marine distress flare which had been fired from a boat. I said to myself, someone must be in trouble.

I quickly realized that the object was too large and then began moving too fast to be a distress flare. I followed the object as it moved out over the ocean in the direction of the horizon. I lost sight of the object, as it was about 10 degrees above the horizon. In the same area of the sky out over the ocean, I then saw a series of flashes, one in the sky and another closer to the horizon. I remember straining to see what was happening as there seemed to be a lot of chaos out there. There was a dot on the horizon near the action, which I perceived as a boat. The flashes were then followed by a huge fireball, which dropped very quickly into the sea. I yelled to my wife. Come here quickly you've got to see this.

My first reaction was that I had seen a military exercise that went awry. Then the sounds started. There was a very loud and prolonged boom, which reminded me of thunder rolling above the house. The noise continued and concluded with a series of two distinctly louder bursts and a final extremely loud burst. The sounds shook the house. My wife who was on the bathroom floor drying our son from his bath felt the floor shaking as she heard the noise and I heard her cry out "what is going on?". After some silence there were two more extremely loud explosion like bursts of sound which also shook the house. I thought to myself that I had witnessed some big weapons being used.

I noticed several smoke patterns, which remained in the sky after the action took place. In the area where I lost sight of the object there was a long, wide, white cigar shaped cloud, which extended parallel to the horizon and eastward to the point where I had seen the huge fireball erupt. At the eastern end of the white cloud was a wide black smoke trail, which followed the same path as the fireball, which had dropped to the horizon. The path of the black smoke left a trail that was slightly to the east of a vertical drop. There was also a thin white, parabolic contrail, which extended upward and westward from the white cigar shaped cloud.

I called 911 and told the operator that I had just witnessed an explosion and crash, which had occurred off shore. The operator asked me for my location, which I provided to her. The operator said she would send someone right over. I told her that the explosion was off shore and not at my location.

I then called the Moriches Coast Guard Station. I stated that I had seen an explosion off shore. I was told, "oh, that's the Air National Guard they are firing flares tonight". I told the Coast Guard Operator that what I had seen was no flare and that I had witnessed a major explosion. I then returned to the beach to see if anything else was going on. The dot on the horizon, which I thought was a ship, had disappeared. I could see flames beginning to appear above the horizon in the area where the fireball had dropped. I saw lights from aircraft and boats heading towards the scene. As I thought about what I had seen and what the Coast Guard had just told me, I felt that I had witnessed an aircraft explode during a military exercise. I began to feel morose, as the explosion was so violent certainly the Air National Guard crew could not have survived.

I began flipping TV news channels. At about 9:15 I got a CNN report that a Boeing 747 was missing……

I followed the event in the newspapers and on TV and radio news. I called the FBI hotline number and a few days later was interviewed by three FBI representatives at my home in Laurel Hollow, N.Y., which is about 50 miles from Westhampton. I told the FBI my observations. I gave the FBI a sketch with a sequence of the events, which I had recalled at the time. I told the FBI that I had drawn no conclusions from my observations and that I was confident that the investigators would find the cause of the disaster. I was asked, "what was your first impression?" and I replied "I thought it was a military exercise and someone shot themselves in the foot". I was asked if I had ever seen a missile before and I replied no. I was asked if I was ever in the military and replied no. During the FBI interview, I noticed they had a questionnaire with an item which read, "when did you first see the missile?". At the conclusion of the interview one of the FBI representatives told me not to talk to too many people about what I had seen since, "someone could say you said this and someone could say you said that".

I followed the news coverage of the event during the months that followed and I became increasingly concerned that the investigation was off the mark. In hindsight I realized that the delayed long rolling thunder sound which I heard probably corresponded to the object traversing the sky. The first two bursts corresponded to the two white flashes, the third loud burst corresponded with the fireball. After the silence, the last two sound bursts would likely correspond with the aircraft hitting the water. In early 1997 I called the FBI stating that I wanted to tell my observations again and that I felt what I had seen was very important to their investigation. I was disappointed by what seemed to be their lack of interest.

My friends and family have told me that I should not be persistent with the FBI since they are afraid that the Government would reprise against me.

Months later I saw the CIA video reenactment on various TV newscasts. It does not correlate in any way with my observations, especially with regard to the descending fireball of the aircraft, which is shown in the video from the perspective of an observer on shore. Nor is there any explanation of the characteristic location and movement of "the object" I saw traversing the sky. The FBI has explained eyewitness sighting of a "flare" as the body of the aircraft as it ascended, (prior to exploding) after the nose section fell off. I strongly disagree. My observations tell me that the aircraft was not just flying along and then suddenly blew up as the center fuel tank exploded. The large fireball, which would have occurred from a fuel explosion in the sky, was a later event in the sequence of my observations. The red, phosphorescent object which first attracted my attention traveled a great distance and at great speed to the area of flight 800's demise. The object originated in a vastly different sector of the sky than the Flight 800 path. The object traveled in a generally north-south direction whereas Flight 800 traveled west-east. The official explanations do not address the flashes of light I observed prior to the fireball and long rolling sonic boom, which ended with 2 small burst and one large burst, followed by silence and then two additional loud bursts. The video does not explain the long white cigar shaped cloud, which was left in the sky.

I have been disappointed with the results of the investigation so far. The official explanations of the disaster are vastly inconsistent with my observations. Considering the resources at the disposal of the investigators and the extent of the investigation, which has been performed over the past two years, I do not believe that the cause of the disaster remains unknown.

At the time of the incident I was 48 years old. I received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1971, I received New York State licensure as a Professional Engineer in 1997. I am self employed full time as a Consulting Engineer and I have been qualified as an expert witness before courts in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Bronx counties. I am a small business owner / sole practitioner and the breadwinner for my family. I watched the negative official and press reaction to the reports by Mr. Salinger which more accurately describe my observations. I have reasoned that if Mr. Salinger, who is a former prestigious government official, could be treated so poorly, what is in store for me if I speak out. I am concerned for my security and fear Government reprisal against me for what I have seen.

Paul J. Angelides




  Evidence of a Missile

  Flight 800 Database

Flight 800

Poll Results

>1000 Respondents

  Missile-------- 80%


  Bomb --------  4%


  Fuel Tank --- 14%

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